'Huge day:' World erupts as transgender athlete makes Olympic history

·4-min read
Seen here, Canada players and midfielder Quinn celebrate after winning football gold in Tokyo.
Canada's Quinn has the honour of becoming the first openly trans athlete in history to win an Olympic Games medal. Pic: Getty

Canada is celebrating a momentous moment in their sporting history after the women's national football team won their first ever Olympic gold medal in a game that rewrote the record books.

The Canadians beat heavyweights Sweden 3-2 on penalties after the final ended 1-1 following 90 minutes and extra time.

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Julia Grosso kept her cool with the decisive penalty in sudden death on Friday night to give Canada their first-ever gold in Olympic football after bronze medals at London and Rio.

But it was a historic night in more than one way, with Canadian star Quinn becoming the first openly nonbinary transgender person to not only medal, but claim gold in the Olympic Games.

Quinn, a dynamic midfielder who started all but one game for the Canadian team in Tokyo, came out publicly as transgender and nonbinary in a September Instagram post but said they identified that way in private for a longer duration.

"I wanted to be my authentic self in all spheres of my life and one of those is being in a public space," Quinn said at the time.

"So that was one of the reasons behind it, because I was tired of being misgendered and everything like that."

They joined several other first-time accomplished athletes who identify as transgender during this year's Tokyo Olympics competitions, including New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard.

Quinn helped Canada take home the bronze in the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, but the Canadians went one better in Tokyo to send fans wild on social media.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the first to hail Quinn and the history-making Canadians on their amazing achievement.

Sweden fall agonisingly short in final

Sweden, conquerors of Australia's Matildas in the semi-final, went ahead in the 34th minute through Stina Blackstenius, who steered home after Kosovare Asllani squared the ball.

But Canada drew level in the 67th minute after the referee went to the pitchside monitor and ruled that Swedish defender Amanda Ilestedt had brought down Canada striker Christine Sinclair.

Jesse Fleming made no mistake from the penalty spot to leave the final delicately poised.

Sweden dominated for the remainder of normal time and the 30 minutes of extra time, but failed to turn the pressure into efforts on goal.

Seen here, a shattered Sweden captain Caroline Seger after missing a crucial penalty.
Sweden captain Caroline Seger was devastated after missing a crucial penalty in the shootout. Pic: AAP

Swedish captain Caroline Seger had a chance to win the gold medal for her side but blazed her spot-kick over the bar.

Canada took full advantage of the mistake to etch their names in Olympic history.

The United States won the bronze medal on Thursday with victory over the Matildas.

with agencies

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